Broken Arrow Principal Brian McCaffrey sees his assignment for next year as a chance to work with two successful teaching staffs and schools instead of just one.
Lawrence school district leaders this week tapped McCaffrey to split his duties next year between his current school and Wakarusa Valley School to save the district money.
“We want to put together the best scenario for both schools, and at the end of the day, we want to do what’s best for kids,” McCaffrey said.
Due to the state’s budget crisis, the school board in March made $4.6 million in cuts for next year, including administrative restructuring that will force the schools to share a principal starting in the fall.
Wakarusa Valley Principal Elias Espinoza has resigned effective the end of the school year to pursue other job opportunities in the Kansas City area.
McCaffrey said he planned to meet soon with Wakarusa Valley staff members, seeking input before he plans how he will spend his time between the two schools.
The district said when McCaffrey is not at Broken Arrow, South Junior High administrators will take on supervisory roles because the schools are on the same campus in the 2700 block of Louisiana Street.
When McCaffrey is not at Wakarusa Valley, which is southwest of Lawrence, the district will designate a lead educator for the school.
Broken Arrow has about 270 students, and Wakarusa Valley serves about 210 students. The schools are about seven miles apart.
Amy Gottschamer, who has two children at Wakarusa Valley, said parents want the school to be able to build on programs, like a focus on enhancing science education through emphasizing nature because the school is outside the city.
“We would certainly hope that (McCaffrey) would be excited about it as we are,” she said. “We look forward to working with him on that, as well as continuing the academic excellence that Wakarusa is known for.”
McCaffrey said he won’t go in and try to change a whole lot at Wakarusa Valley.
“I know they are strong academically, and they are doing a lot of good things out there,” he said. “My goal would be to build on their strengths.”